Updated from 12:17 p.m.
In a week filled with bad news for tech investors,
Chairman Jeff Henley had something good to say on Thursday. The database giant is standing by its optimistic first-quarter forecast.
"I don't have a different view than I had at our analyst day," Henley said during a presentation at an investor conference in New York hosted by CIBC World Markets.
Back on July 14, the company said it expected fiscal first-quarter earnings of 9 cents a share, compared with 8 cents a year earlier, on revenue growth of 6% to 9%, led by demand for Oracle's database software.
In recent trading, however, the stock was off 29 cents a share, or 2.9%, to $9.90.
Henley noted the rash of recent misses by other software companies, but said he did not see a fundamental falloff in demand. "Something is going on," he added on a Webcast of the meeting, "but as I look at our forecast we don't see a lot of change."
Henley also said that if there is reasonable growth in license revenue this fiscal year, he expects the company to achieve its long-term target of boosting operating margins, now at about 38%, to 40% and above.
Oracle's chairman also said the company will continue its program of buying back shares, and will increase it, should the stock become "undervalued in our opinion." He did not indicate how low the stock, already off about 25% this year, would have to drop to provoke that action.
Henley also mentioned that the company's latest update of its business application suite, due out in the next three months, will contain a major reworking of its customer relationship management modules. In fact, he referred to the CRM upgrade as "a relaunch," and promised a major marketing campaign to support it.
That could be bad news for CRM vendor
, which is already hard pressed by competition from
at the high end and
at the low end.